When my father was about 70, his hip became painful enough that he couldn't walk far on it. The surgeon he saw looked at the x-ray and said it wasn't too bad and he should come back when he couldn't walk at all. This was not acceptable to my father whose favourite activity was walking – preferably up mountains – so he went away to do his own reading and ended up cutting white flour and dairy out of his diet. He started drinking tea without milk and baking his own wholemeal bread, fruit cakes and oat-based biscuits. His hip got better. About 5 years later it was bad enough that he could only walk 100 yds without sitting. He went back to the surgeon who looked at the new x-ray and couldn't believe he was still walking on it.
So when I read Wheat Belly I was already aware that my father had reduced his wheat intake once before for his health. I was also aware that over the last few years my mother's preference had dominated the shopping and his intake of bread and biscuits had increased. I figured since he'd already done the same previously, I would not be imposing unduly on him to remove wheat (in fact all grains) from his diet to see if it made a difference. By this point, what my father ate was what I put in front of him. If I offered something he might say no thank you, but he'd never ask for anything I didn't offer. So in December 2012 we cut out wheat. (Actually for a few weeks I still bought weekly fish and chips and skinned the batter off the fish.)
My father's ability to interact had deteriorated. He couldn't follow a pointing hand but would stare at me or my hand. If I commented on something I saw, he would just answer in response to whatever he'd been thinking about. I'd say while driving – I see the roads are still wet, and he'd say – no, as if agreeing with me. About a week after we cut out the wheat we were out in the car and I said, without pointing, something about all the water in the fields, which were on my side of the road. No, he said and then he stopped, looked across me at the water and said – oh yes, there is a lot. Big, big turnaround from my perspective.
My brother and his wife visited at Christmas and saw the turnaround. He'd looked after my father for the day in October and in December he spent some one-on-one time with him and then told us he'd had a conversation of 3 or 4 connected sentences with him that he couldn't have done in October. My brother went away with his nose buried in his own copy of Wheat Belly (I've given away 4 or 5 copies since) and a list of other books including Gary Taubes' The Diet Delusion (Good Calories, Bad Calories).
The improvements continue to be small and mostly subjective. Because every day is much like the next, it's hard for me to pin down specific improvements, though I journal every day and note any significant changes. One set of his friends, when I explained the changes, effectively dismissed them as – oh yes, some days he'll be better than others. They are completely invested in CW and have no interest in the science behind it. Another, who also spends time with my father saw a difference in how much more aware he was of others and the world around him, but in all cases I've explained in advance my own perceptions. We don't have enough regular interaction with others for anyone to really notice this level of change on their own, so observations are biased by my own interference.
When we started on wheat-free (not just bread, etc, but anything with wheat products as an ingredient) I also started him on a multi-B vitamin. After reading more specifically about B12 and its effects (Could it be B12? By Nancy Pacholok) I changed that to a high dose (5000mcg) B12 supplement. I also added D3 and a supplement of phosphatidylserine which has some anecdotal success. In February I cut out dairy for myself (no more acne!!) and stopped cooking with butter, changing to lard and dripping as much as possible.
At Easter (March 2013), my brother and his wife stayed while I had a few days away, but they couldn't confirm any further improvement though he certainly hadn't deteriorated any more in the 3 months since Christmas. At his stage of Alzheimer's (he needs help with dressing and sometimes with toiletting, has no idea who I am or how old he is and has symptoms of stages 5 and 6 of the 7 stages) that's a win.